Gingerbread bakery comes together

Editor’s note: This is the eighth chapter of a 12-part continuing, fictional holiday tale that is running daily through Christmas. Parents are encouraged to read it aloud to their children.

“Careful, careful,” Angelica whispered to herself, slowly securing a piece of sugar glass into place. She stepped back, surveying the almost-finished edible bakery. The front of the gingerbread model was almost done. Now that the large display window was in place, they just had to finish all the small details.

“Using the sugar glass was a really good idea, Mom,” she said. “It looks so real!”

Faith smiled, using her forearm to swipe a piece of hair out of her face. “I think so too. It’s really coming together!”

They both ignored the hustle and bustle around them, focusing on the intricate gingerbread structure on the table in front of them. Angelica glanced up at the digital clock on the wall, watching the glowing red numbers as they counted down.

“We only have an hour left,” she said, suddenly overcome with worry. “And there’s still so much to do! We need to frost the front, and add the candy, and we still haven’t put on any of the Christmas decorations, the reindeer aren’t ready, and…”

“Angel,” her mother interrupted. “Calm down. We can do this! An hour is plenty of time.”

Angelica took a deep breath, nodding. “OK.”

She glanced around, trying to ignore how beautiful the other gingerbread structures were. On the table next to them was a towering castle, full of twists and spirals. Across from them, an older couple worked on a gorgeous Victorian-style mansion. There were many other smaller, more traditional houses, but the large ones that stood out worried her.

Then she glanced over at the crowd seated on the far end of the auditorium. The bleachers were filled with the family and friends of the competitors. She locked eyes with Mrs. Blake, who gave her a huge grin and a double thumbs up. Sophia and her family were next to Mrs. Blake, and she waved excitedly to Angelica.

Quite a few of their friends from town had come, and seeing all of their happy, encouraging faces renewed her optimism, and she grabbed an icing bag, determined to finish the best gingerbread house this competition had ever seen.

Over the next hour, she and her mom frosted, piped, sprinkled and decorated. More than once, she paused to watch her mom work, marveling at how easy she made it look to pipe such detailed, complex designs on something so small.

The buzzer rang, signaling the end of the competition, and everyone set down their tools and stepped away from their work tables. A smile spread across Angelica’s face as she looked at their finished product. A perfect replica of their bakery sat on the table in front of them, fully decorated with handmade candy lights, Christmas wreaths in the windows, and snow dusted on the roof and window sills. Every last detail of the bakery was replicated by something edible, and a swell of pride washed over Angelica.

They had created something beautiful, and no matter the outcome of the contest, she was proud of what they had managed to do.

Read Part 9 of “Mixing Up Some Holiday Magic” in tomorrow’s Tribune Chronicle.

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